- Community stalwart, Farmer and Local government councillor
Rita Neilsen was nominated for the 1997 A.B.C. Rural Woman of the Year Award, for the Tropical North district of Queensland.
Neilsen has been involved in the sugar industry in some capacity all her life. She was raised on a cane farm, worked as a chemist in a cane mill and has run a cane farm with her husband for three decades.
She has significant management experience and has been involved in a number of industry organisations. She was a member of the Peak Council for Rural Women and the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Resource Management. She has also been Chairperson of the Mackay District's Cane Growers Network which provides a necessary forum for issues relating to the sugar industry.
She has served on the Mirani Shire Council.